For the past three years I truly enjoyed visiting the Web Summit in Lisbon. I had the chance to meet founders, entrepreneurs starting their businesses, experienced CEOs, and everyone in between. And attend the summit on sneakers!
Every year we gather a group of smart IT ladies and I return inspired and motivated to continue the road to digitalization. This year we did the same and got together in the Netherlands to an entirely online web event.
In fact, this year’s Web Summit had an agenda full of empowering and inspiring women. Starting with the opening speech of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Union. She emphasized how 2020 is the digital decade by excellence, having forced governments and companies to advance years of innovation because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Another amazing session was hosted by Apple VP of Environment Lisa Jackson and Nobel Prize Malala Yousafzai. They’ve spoken about Apple’s and Malala Fund research project on the impacts of climate change on girls and young women. And the power of education to build resilience to future crises.
It’s all a matter of perspective (or not).
It wasn’t the same. Having a full online experience in such an exclusive event like the Web Summit has its downsides. It’s easier to press pause; to lose focus and get distracted responding to an urgent email. But most of all, I truly miss the energy of meeting people. And to wander between the pavilions, amazed with everything I see and engaging with other companies.
Of course, there are also immediate benefits to an online conference. I can name a few of them that are mostly time saving: no queues to get lunch and jumping from one session to another very easily! Also, being online gave me the chance to “be” at the speakers’ homes. So, I felt inspired more on a personal level.
Undoubtedly, technology is now perceived as a game changer. The urgency to embrace technology is here to stay. And we need to adapt, people and companies, make the most of it, and find new ways of getting the job done.
I was impressed with many of this year’s Portuguese speakers and tracks, like Inês Silva from Portuguese Women in Tech, Outsystems’s CEO Paulo Rosado, João Borga from Startup Portugal, José Neves from Farfetch, and Luis Castro Henriques from AICEP. All of them with such successful stories about their tech companies and ready to embrace this paradigm change in their businesses.
Brand new year, brand new wishes.
Last month I started working for Polarising. We are used to work remotely, but normally we combine this with personal meetings. Which makes working together easier, more productive, and more fun at the same time. Jason Fried from Basecamp explained it well: remote work is not the same as replacing office work by online work.
Working remote should free up a lot of time for thinking and balancing our lives. It allows us to mature ideas and write them, share them strategically and only expect a call when there is something to discuss. But the synergies that we create by going to the office and discuss ideas it’s equally important, and crucial to a solid company culture and goal achievement.
I look forward to next year immensely. Web Summit and sneakers are already in my agenda. But I’m certain that we will learn a lot from this years’ experience and achieved new breakthroughs.
Polarising Netherlands Country Manager